Last year around this time I decided that I would start buying music regularly from instead of using subscription services. I had bought music sporadically previously but realized it was time to start supporting the artists I care about more regularly. Subscription services don't benefit many of the people I like to the extent that an album purchase does thus I decided to start purchasing albums exclusively. Instead of being able to listen to everything I decided to give myself ~$15 USD every month to buy music with.

I've found this method to be extremely satisfying as I need to be selective about what I buy. It also helps me regularly find fantastic new music as I check several times a week for new releases that I can add to my wishlist. I make purchases once a month (minus a podcast here and there) which ensures that I'm not overspending regularly and that I make hard decisions regarding what I really want to listen to. I've found that making these difficult decisions for what truly stands out to me each month is much more satisfying for the space I am in mentally. Every month the albums I purchase directly reflect the mood I'm currently in. I've found myself continually going back to certain genres and artists month after month even though there are other fantastic releases. This creates an interesting trend where I can almost map out my shifting musical preferences over the last year.

The main downside to this process has been that my wishlist of music grows far faster than my purchasing budget allows. I still have releases that I would like to own that have been on my wishlist for two years. It's also a problem when an artist releases an especially expensive album as I would have to spend the entire month's budget on a single album. Even with this minor downside I'm still very pleased with the experience thus far and I realize that $15 a month is how much many people spend on coffee in a week so it's fairly low budget wise. The point with my budget was to try and bring it down to a competitive level with many streaming services. I also have the enjoyable side effect that I own all of this music and can easily move it between machines. Most artists are offering MP3 320 or FLAC so the quality is generally outstanding (quality issues arise more from mixing problems at this point than anything else).

After using this purchase process for the past year I've decided I'm going to continue with it. In the end I am more satisfied with my purchases, I get to support artists directly, and I enjoy a much more tightly curated music library.